Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors select the best new audiobooks just for BookTrib’s readers. This month, selections include several audiobooks perfect for rounding out Black History Month, a duke-themed romance, a fascinating memoir, pulse-pounding thrillers set in the past and the future, and more. Queue ’em up!

Four Hundred Souls
by Ibram X. Kendi, Keisha N. Blain (Eds.)
Read by a Full Cast (Random House Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

An outstanding cast brings these essays and poems vividly to life. Of the many incandescent narrators, JD Jackson (“Upon Arrival”), Kevin R. Free (“Cotton”), January LaVoy (“Sally Hemmings”) and Robin Miles (“Maroons and Marronage”) are masterful. Ninety entries, including 10 poems, encapsulate the African American experience from 1619 to 2019. The authors tell stories both little- and well-known that together give the listener a symphony of voices that bring the complex, often horrific, history of Black people in the U.S. into relief.

Just As I Am
by Cicely Tyson, Michelle Burford
Read by Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Robin Miles (Harper Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

After a deeply touching foreword by Oscar-winning actor Viola Davis and an introduction by the indomitable force that was Cicely Tyson (1924-2021), narrator Robin Miles picks up the torch and delivers 16 riveting, thought-provoking hours on the life and times of the author. Tyson attributes her well-deserved success to luck, tenacity and her personal relationship with God. Robin Miles delivers all with an elegance, dignity and charm that would make Tyson proud. This honest account of Cicely Tyson’s life also tells of the history and trials of Black women over generations. A must-listen audiobook, thanks to the combined brilliance of Robin Miles’s performance and the genteel grace that pervades Tyson’s prose.  

Land
by Simon Winchester
Read by Simon Winchester (Harper Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

British author/narrator Simon Winchester’s Queen’s English, familiarity with his material, and passion for his subject matter make this a winning choice. Land provides listeners with a new way of looking at an old phenomenon: how humans turned the earth’s surface into a proprietary patchwork of boundaries, title holdings and commons. We learn how Europeans dispossessed the land of Native peoples, how one woman came to own 29 million acres of mineral-rich soil, how the invention of barbed wire changed the way land is bounded, and how land can be mismanaged.

The Prophets
by Robert Jones, Jr.
Read by Karen Chilton (Penguin Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Karen Chilton’s stunning performance increases the power of this important debut novel about the far-reaching effects of the love between two male slaves on a Mississippi plantation. This audiobook exposes the myriad perspectives of slaves and masters, detailing moments of almost unimaginable brutality, hopelessness and fear juxtaposed with snatches of beauty and love in the plantation’s closed community. Drawing on the tradition of giving testimony, Chilton’s delivery conveys the personal experiences of the fully developed characters, the collective spiritual and cultural African past of the slaves, and the universality of human emotions and dreams. 

Colonyside
by Michael Mammay
Read by R.C. Bray (Harper Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator R.C. Bray’s commanding voice perfectly suits this story of a disgraced colonel and a missing CEO’s daughter. Carl Butler hoped to live out his days on an ignored planet but agrees to take on what should be a simple case: finding a missing daughter. The story’s twists and turns build intrigue as Bray keeps the plot thundering forward. Both fans of the series and newcomers will fall under Bray’s spell as he delivers this relatively self-contained, well-plotted sci-fi adventure.  

White Ivy
by Susie Yang
Read by Emily Woo Zeller (Simon & Schuster Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller skillfully steers the dramatic plot of this audiobook. As a teen, Ivy Yang was sent to China after her mother discovered her shoplifting. It was a high price to pay for acquiring the accouterments of the wealthy kids she went to school with. Years later, back in Boston, she enters into a romantic relationship with her teenage crush. Just when things seem perfect, a ghost from her past threatens to undo everything she’s ever hoped for. Zeller’s outstanding storytelling elevates the work’s twists and the harsh reality of the immigrant experience.  

Ten Things I Hate About the Duke
by Loretta Chase
Read by Kate Reading (Harper Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Kate Reading’s velvet voice and English accent set the stage for this delightful Regency interpretation of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew. Cassandra Pomfret’s reputation is already in danger of ruin when the handsome but reckless Duke of Ashmont causes an accident that leaves her without a chaperone. Reading boasts a range of lively character voices, including spot-on portrayals of the headstrong Cassandra and the repentant Duke that bring out the nuances of their growing attraction to each other. This stellar performance by Reading is a luxurious listening experience for lovers of Regency romances and the English language.  

Blood Grove
by Walter Mosley
Read by Michael Boatman (Hachette Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Michael Boatman returns to narrate the 15th audiobook in Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series. Rawlins reluctantly takes on the case of a disturbed white Vietnam veteran who is convinced he stabbed a Black man. Rawlins’s persistence to uncover the truth leads him to dangerous places, and Boatman’s performance of beautifully written moments of observation is captivating. Listeners will vicariously experience Easy’s confrontation with law enforcement, which he describes as “being the wrong color in the wrong place at the wrong time.” (Read The Big Thrill‘s full review of this book here.)

Ever Winter
by Peter Hackshaw
Read by Dan Stevens (Podium Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Folks picking up this audiobook because it is narrated by Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) will not be disappointed. The post-apocalyptic ice world of this fantasy features a spoken language that is an amalgamation of English, Spanish and a bit of futuristic slang that derives from both. Stevens allows listeners to feel immersed, and when the plot starts to wander, Stevens’s magnificent delivery retains one’s attention. He shows off his considerable talent when he drops in and out of characters’ voices, convincing listeners they are hearing a full cast.  

Featherhood
by Charlie Gilmour
Read by Charlie Gilmour (Simon & Schuster Audio)

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

With his English accent and languid yet expressive voice, author and narrator Charlie Gilmour is charming company. His deep, abiding love for his family is obvious. He adores his wife, Yana — he sounds almost amazed by her — and he finds purpose and healing in caring for their accidental pet, a magpie. Although Gilmour describes his childhood as loving and safe, he carries emotional scars from his father, Heathcote Williams. Gilmour dives deep into Heathcote’s childhood and failed marriages to face his own mental health challenges. In both word and performance, Featherhood is reflective, poetic and full of wry bird moments.  

This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.